Acting naturally doesn’t do you much good. You have a natural craving for chocolate but not for vegetables. You want to sit in front of the TV all day long instead of doing some exercise. You don’t want to tax your brain with a difficult book, or even with an easy book. Even learning to read in the first place was a counter-intuitive skill that you were forced to learn by parents and teachers. Little by little you learn that simply ‘being yourself’ is not good enough. Don’t listen to your inner voice. Listen to the voices around you.
When we were young we saw children in school who were bored, disruptive and sometimes bullies, yet we are taught that this is not their fault. Instead, the fault lies in the home environment, or the school, or the society in general. These things are not really the fault of anyone, though all must share collective guilt. In the end all of us, except conservatives, are victims of ‘root causes’, roots which reach all the way back to the Big Bang. This is what we are taught.
After we leave school we learn not to get angry when the government takes away our money in taxes so as to give it to lazy people, who are the same people who we sat next to in class and who the Big Bang compelled not to listen or make an effort.
We learn that it is racist to object to lots of foreign people coming into our well-organised country and being given free housing and money. Women, native or otherwise, who were imprudent enough to sleep with a man who had no intention of marrying them yet didn’t use a condom either are given special treatment, sending more responsible and forward-thinking women who behave in an exemplary way to the back of the queue. They are not so ‘needy’. Need is all.
We learn that though it might be natural to prefer the company of people like ourselves, this is a bad impulse and one that has to be struggled against. It is ‘racist’. Racism might be natural but even so, what is ‘natural’ is not necessarily ‘good’. Scientists tell us that rape is natural, yet it would be silly to argue that it is good, wouldn’t it? Yes.
And so it goes on. Our primitive genes push us in one direction, usually in some barbaric or embarrassing way, while society’s educators tell us to go in quite another. We eat salad but we really want chocolate. We drag ourselves out of bed to go to the gym when what we really want to do is stay in bed. We pay towards the welfare of lazy, stupid people when in reality we couldn’t care less about them. We don’t want any more black, brown, yellow or even white people from other nations in our country but we feel that we should not say so because this would be racist. We have to be re-made in the image of our educators, who in turn were re-made by a handful of left-wing intellectuals a generation earlier.
From an evolutionary perspective I understand why developing a sweet tooth in pre-historic times was a good adaptation but is not suited to a world furnished with wall-to-wall sweets and fats. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to burn off all those calories. I also understand why I want to have sex with attractive women but am not allowed to unless they also want to i.e. never. Luckily my powers of empathy manage to out-wrestle my sexual desire.
Even so, recently I have started to doubt whether some of the things I have been taught since I was young are really true. I no longer believe that all individuals are equally intelligent, or are ‘in their own way.’ I don’t believe in multiple intelligences; I think it is redundant to say that Lionel Messi has ‘kinetic-athletic intelligence’ rather than simply saying he is good at football. Nor do I believe that the different races are equally caring of their children, or equally prone to crime.
Although I believe we should all contribute to things like the army, the police, the dustbin men, doctors and nurses and hospitals, fire engines and firemen, politicians and parliaments and the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges and power stations, I no longer believe that working people have a moral duty to support those who make no effort to find work, or who have made themselves virtually unemployable through idleness and lack of effort.
I no longer believe that foreign aid is the solution to world poverty. The aid either ends up in the pockets of corrupt African politicians or it gets through and renders Third World people dependent on the First World forever more. Aid no longer represents a crutch until a poor country manages to stand on its own two feet. It becomes a regular sources of expected income. Just look at Africa. Every year since I can remember the West has sent millions of dollars in aid to Africa, yet the situation there only ever seems to get worse. And I don’t want to try to solve the problem by allowing mass immigration from those countries into my own increasingly dysfunctional country. Huge numbers of unassimilated immigrants will merely drag down those reasonably functioning societies, just as a few disinterested schoolchildren can ruin a whole class.
All of these ideas of how I should feel but don’t have started to drop off me. I feel like the boy who sees that the Emperor is wearing no clothes.